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The Beginning of a Bitcoin Bull Run?

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bitcoin bull run

The Beginning of a Bitcoin Bull Run?

After 15 months of losses and stagnation, Bitcoin has made a miraculous recovery — rising more than 150% from its lowest point in December 2018.

In its heyday, Bitcoin had surpassed $10,000 in early December 2017, before briefly crossing the $20,000 mark for a single day on December 17th. A year later, the digital currency had fallen back to Earth, dropping below $3,200.

Now that the dust of that wild speculative frenzy has settled, Bitcoin is back on the upswing. What could be causing this most recent surge in growth?

We look at four possible explanations for the Bitcoin bull run, as originally outlined by Aaron Hankin at MarketWatch:

Technical Milestones

Bitcoin has seen several technical milestones this year, such as surpassing the psychological barrier of $5,000 in early 2019, breaking the 200-day moving average, and scoring the golden cross (when the 50-day moving average crosses above the 200-day moving average).

Widespread Adoption

Bitcoin is experiencing a steady increase in adoption across several markets. The term Bitcoin has become a household name — even if people don’t understand what it does, they know what it is.

Companies such as Starbucks, Microsoft, and Amazon, and Nordstrom are looking for ways to integrate cryptocurrencies into daily transactions for faster payment clearance, innovative rewards programs, and efficient customer service interactions.

bitcoin merchants

Shifting Sentiments

Bitcoin has possibly seen a shift in public perception. There have been fewer negative articles about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, and the news stories that are negative no longer have as big of an impact as they once did.

When Binance announced hackers stole $40 million in bitcoin and when accusations of an $850-million cover-up were leveled against Bitfinex and Tether, the Bitcoin bull run barely flinched and continued to climb.

Wavering Gold Investment

Investor confidence in gold has been more stagnant in recent times. To capitalize on this, Grayscale Investments (of Digital Currency Group) posted a campaign in May 2019 promoting Bitcoin as an ideal alternative to gold because it is borderless, secure, and more efficient for storing value.

Despite the World Gold Council’s response denying those claims, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust saw OTC Markets Group’s highest trading volumes five days later.

Where to from here?

After a long skid, it appears Bitcoin is showing signs of life again. Bitcoin’s price can be highly volatile, so it remains to be seen whether this is the beginning of a bull run, or whether this is just another bump in the roller coaster ride.

Editor’s note: The price of Bitcoin has fallen to $7,100 at time of publishing and will likely continue to experience extreme volatility. However, even at a price of $7,100, this is still a 120% increase from lows in Dec 2018. As well, an earlier version of this graphic had incorrect dates on the timeline. That has now been corrected.

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Top 10 Bitcoin Mining Countries & Their Renewable Electricity Mix

Bitcoin miners worldwide use about 348 TWh of electricity per year, as much as some countries, but just where does all that power come from?

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Teaser to an infographic showing the top 10 countries for Bitcoin mining, led by the U.S. Kazakhstan, and China, and their renewable electricity mix. Only China, Canada, Germany, and Ireland had renewable mixes above the global average of 30%.

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The following content is sponsored by HIVE Digital Technologies

Top 10 Bitcoin Mining Countries & Their Renewable Electricity Mix

Bitcoin miners use an estimated 348 terawatt hours of electricity per year, and with the world increasingly moving to renewables, some are asking the question: just where does Bitcoin get its electricity?

To answer that question, we partnered with HIVE Digital to visualize data from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance and Ember, a climate-oriented energy think tank, to look at the Bitcoin network’s electricity mix. 

This is part one in our How Green is Bitcoin? series, which examines the cryptocurrency’s sustainability.  

The World According to Bitcoin

The top 10 countries for Bitcoin mining represent 93.8% of the entire network by hashrate—a measure of computational power—with the U.S., China, and Kazakhstan rounding out the top three. Together these three countries hosted nearly three-quarters of the network at the end of 2021. 

CountryHashrate (%)Renewable (%)
U.S.37.8%22.5%
China21.1%30.2%
Kazakhstan13.2%11.3%
Canada6.5%69.7%
Russia4.7%18.5%
Germany3.1%43.0%
Malaysia2.5%19.1%
Ireland2.0%38.6%
Singapore2.0%2.4%
Thailand1.0%15.5%
Rest of the World6.3%30.1%

Source: Hashrate (%): Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance as of December 2021; Renewable (%) Ember, as of 2022.

China used to be the top spot for Bitcoin mining, up to 75% of global capacity, but a crackdown in the summer of 2021 saw their share drop to nil in just a couple months. Many miners relocated to nearby Kazakhstan, attracted by cheap electricity, loose regulations, and a ‘stable’ political climate, while others opted for the United States. A sizable covert mining scene has also emerged in China, now that the dust has settled.

At the bottom of the top 10 are Ireland, Singapore, and Thailand, which together host 4.9% of the network. Ireland’s reported share—and this applies to sixth-place Germany, as well—is thought to be a significant overstatement caused by miners in other countries masking their true locations.

The Role of Renewables

On a national basis, the U.S., China, and Kazakhstan each had renewable shares of 22.5%, 30.2%, and 11.3% respectively. For context, renewables made up 30% of the world’s electricity generation in 2022 (not including nuclear). 

Kazakhstan’s dismal renewable share is due to their heavy reliance on coal (60%), which is also a major export of the central Asian country. At the same time, coal contributes a similar amount of the electricity in China (61%), but their overall renewable share is higher because of their breakneck expansion of wind and solar power.

Wagons Ho?

Just where a Bitcoin miner sets up their rig is important, because unlike many other industries with factories or big head offices, they are mobile (Google ‘Bitcoin mining shipping containers’ if you need convincing).

Where they choose to put out their shingle is based on things like the regulatory regime, price of electricity, and because Bitcoin rigs generate a lot of heat, the average outdoor temperature. On this last point, here is how the top 10 breaks down by mean annual temperature:

Increasingly, though, with climate change driving the push to renewables, many Bitcoin miners are looking more closely at where their electricity is coming from. This could be why Canada—with its embarrassment of hydroelectric riches—has crept up the ranking from less than one percent of the network in 2019, to six-and-a-half percent at the end of 2021. 

But considering that top renewable countries such as Iceland, Paraguay, and Norway together only hosted just over one percent of the global network, there’s still a lot more room left for growth.

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Learn more about how Bitcoin miner and data center operator HIVE Digital is using clean, renewable energy at its facilities in Canada, Sweden, and Iceland.

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